With Malice Toward None ~ March 4, 1865

With Malice Toward None ~ Abraham Lincoln

Washington crowds at the inauguration

Washington crowds at the inauguration

For the second time Lincoln takes the oath of office as President of the United States. Some scholars consider his inaugural address to be the greatest of his speeches. I include the speech here in its entirety. It is worth a read and a slow rereading, no matter how familiar you may be with the content.

The new Vice President, Andrew Johnson, makes a fool of himself. In the Confederate capital, some people worry about fleeing the city. The tide has shifted.

March 4– Saturday– New York City– “Without abolition, what do we gain by blood and sacrifice? Not population or territory, for we fight no foreign foe; not colonies, or dependencies, for we bring back only our equals. It is nothing to punish unless we remove the cause of punishment. Is the great commotion to produce only railroads torn up and store-houses burned down? Is that in the7-30 and 10-40 contracts? No, sir. The workingmen of this nation expect to work out of this war with the dignity of work fully established. As a skillful pianist only brings out the full tones of his instrument in touching all the keys, both black and white, so shall you, in using all the forces of free labor, draw out the grand harmonies of our national march. . . . With a bewildered look you gazed on the ghastly gift of November, in doubt whether you came to Washington to attend a funeral or execute a contract. Office-seekers begging for office, patriots asking for a country; the rebel commissioners knocking for admission, not for the [hangman’s] halter they had earned but for their share of the ruins they had made; not ambassadors, but grave-diggers came for the body, prepared to bury American liberty under the dust of their rubbish platitudes. We all have our theories how they ought to have been treated, how much wiser our little wisdom could have managed the war. Ministers of great emergencies escape not great calamities. Censure now, immortality hereafter. . . . The contest, though unfinished, is no longer uncertain. Calhoun’s grave is in our possession. His theory is under the feet of our armed heroes. What peace shall parole the captured doctrine? As workingmen, respectfully but manfully addressing the master-worker, this Association bids you Godspeed.” ~ Letter from David S. Coddington on behalf of the Workingmen’s Association of New York to President Lincoln.

watching Lincoln take the oath of office

watching Lincoln take the oath of office

March 4– Saturday– New York City– “From all the arrangements made, and the patriotic spirit everywhere prevailing in the city, there is no doubt but that the celebrated of our great military and naval victories today will be one of the grandest and most unique spectacles ever witnessed in New York. The people of the metropolis will turn out by hundreds of thousands to behold the demonstration. People from the country and all the adjoining cities will flock in to see it. Every interest in the city and its surroundings will be represented. The military will make a magnificent display. The navy representatives from the Navy Yard – sailors and marines, with a full rigged ship and a monitor – will swell the throng. All the trades’ associations and other civic societies will lend their aid, and symbols and banners and allegorical illustrations of their several avocations. Europe, Asia and Africa will be impressed into the service; for we are to have elephants and giraffes, and walruses and other strange animals in the line of march. The operatic and theatrical managers, who favor the public with their Saturday matinees, will hurry up their business by an early commencement so that their audiences may be out in time to see the procession and hear the speeches in Union Square. . . . The public institutions have arranged for a national holiday. The Custom House officials have got up some splendid interior decorations for the occasion. The stores generally will be closed in the afternoon, and all New York, which is not in the windows, will be on the sidewalks. The ‘Streets of New York’ have rarely presented so fine a spectacle as they will today; and the news of the celebration will gladden the hearts of our gallant soldiers and sailors, to whose valor the metropolis of the Union has done so much honor.” ~ New York Herald.

March 4– Saturday– New York City– “On this day President Lincoln enters upon his second term, amidst the benedictions of the loyal citizens of the United States. No man in any office or at any period of our history has been so tried as he, and no man has ever shown himself more faithful to a great duty. His temperament, his singular sagacity, his inflexible honesty, his patient persistence, his clear comprehension of the scope of the war, and of the character and purpose of the American people have not only enabled him to guide the country safely in its most perilous hour, but have endeared him forever to the popular heart. Party hate has dashed itself to pieces against his spotless patriotism. Friendly impatience has long since hushed contempt at length recognize in him a purely characteristic representative of that America which conquers by good sense and moral fidelity. The history of the first term of this administration is the story of a desperate and prodigious civil war waged over a continent, and revealing the unprecedented power of a Government founded upon the popular will. Such a war necessarily clothes the chief executive magistrate with extraordinary power. Yet it is the most significant tribute to the character of Mr. Lincoln, that his exercise of that power has been so purely patriotic that, after, and he is continued in his high office by the hearty confidence of the vast body of the people. And that he is to-day inaugurated amidst universal applause, that the nation has not been deluded by the vehement party assaults which every civil war makes so practicable and specious, but has known and approved a man so just and faithful, is the noblest proof of the truly conservative character of that popular Government with which the name of Abraham Lincoln will henceforth be associated.” ~ Harper’s Weekly.

March 4– Saturday– Washington, Pennsylvania– Washington College and Jefferson College merge to form Washington & Jefferson College.


March 4– Saturday–Washington, D.C.–”At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war– seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. ‘Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.’ If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’ With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” ~ President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address


March 4– Saturday–Washington, D.C.–”Was at the Capitol last night until twelve. All the Cabinet were present with the President. As usual, the time passed very pleasantly. Chief Justice Chase came in and spent half an hour. Later in the night I saw him in the Senate. Speed says Chase leaves the Court daily to visit the Senate, and is full of aspirations. I rode from the Capitol home at midnight with Seward. He expressed himself more unreservedly and warmly against Chase than I have ever heard him before. The inauguration took place to-day. There was great want of arrangement and completeness in the ceremonies. All was confusion and without order– a jumble. The Vice-President elect made a rambling and strange harangue, which was listened to with pain and mortification by all his friends. My impressions were that he was under the influence of stimulants, yet I know not that he drinks. He has been sick and is feeble; perhaps he may have taken medicine, or stimulants, or his brain from sickness may have been overactive in these new responsibilities. Whatever the cause, it was all in very bad taste. The delivery of the inaugural address, the administering of the oath, and the whole deportment of the President were well done, and the retiring Vice-President appeared to advantage when contrasted with his successor, who has humiliated his friends. Speed, who sat at my left, whispered me that ‘all this is in wretched bad taste’ and very soon he said, ‘The man is certainly deranged.’ I said to Stanton, who was on my right, ‘Johnson is either drunk or crazy.’ Stanton replied, ‘There is evidently something wrong.’ Seward says it was emotion on returning and revisiting the Senate; that he can appreciate Johnson’s feelings, who was much overcome. I hope Seward is right, but don’t entirely concur with him. There is, as Stanton says, something wrong. I hope it is sickness. The reception at the President’s this evening was a crowded affair– not brilliant, as the papers say it was. In some respects the arrangement was better than heretofore for the Cabinet gentlemen and their families, but there is room for much improvement. Such was the crowd that many were two hours before obtaining entrance after passing through the gates. When I left, a little before eleven, the crowd was still going in. The day has been fatiguing and trying. The morning was rainy. Soon after noon the clouds disappeared and the day was beautiful ; the streets dreadful.” ~ Diary of Gideon Welles.

being sworn in-images

March 4– Saturday– Richmond, Virginia– “Raining hard, and warm. We have vague reports of Early’s defeat in the Valley by an overwhelming force; and the gloom and despondency among the people are in accordance with the hue of the constantly-occurring disasters. . . . The Legislature of North Carolina has passed resolutions exempting millers, blacksmith, etc.– in contravention of the act of Congress– and directing Governor Vance to correspond with the Secretary of War on the subject. This bears an ugly aspect. General Early’s little army is scattered to the winds. Charlottesville has been in possession of the enemy, but at last accounts General Rosser, in Sheridan’s rear, held it. Sheridan advanced to Scottsville; and is no doubt still advancing. Lynchburg is rendered unsafe; and yet some of the bureaus are packing up and preparing to send the archives thither. They would probably fall into the hands of the enemy. . . . There is almost a panic among officials here who have their families with them, under the belief that the city may be suddenly evacuated, and the impossibility of getting transportation. I do not share the belief– that is, that the event is likely to occur immediately; but if it should occur, I know my wife and children will remain– for a season. We must ‘pray that our flight be not in the winter.’” ~ Diary of John Jones.

March 4– Saturday– Petersburg, Virginia– “In all together, I walked 180 miles or more since I left home. I hardly know what to write on the war news. Various opinions are afloat, in regard to future movements. One thing certain, Petersburg and Richmond are not evacuated yet and I see but little if any sign of their evacuation. We received orders last night to be ready to march at a moment’s warning but it is about 12 o’clock now and we hear nothing more from it. It is nothing unusual to get such orders, and I hope these will pass quietly away for this time at least for I do not feel like taking another tramp so soon. General Lee is Commander in Chief, and Johnson has been restored to the Command of the Army of Tennessee, which are both good things. The Law to arm the Negroes has not passed Congress yet. It is causing much debate. Sherman’s whereabouts in not known exactly but he left the railroad below Chester, South Carolina and is thought to be making his way to Wilmington, and will form a junction with Grant. If so we will whip him sure. With Johnson and Beauregard to assist us I feel confident that we will be able to manage Mr. Grant and Sherman too. Now is the time for all to rally around the standard of our Country and let us route Sherman and I firmly believe that peace will soon follow. How can a man lag from duty at these times I cannot see for my life.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.


March 4– Saturday– Macon, Georgia– “At the session in November, an appropriation of $800,000 was made to purchase and carry corn to the destitute in the counties that have been overrun by the enemy, and in counties where the crop failed on account of the extreme wet or dry weather. The average price of corn in the State, may now be set down at twelve to fifteen dollars per bushel. Add the cost of transportation, and the lowest estimate would be fifteen. The appropriation will purchase at present prices, a little over 50,000 bushels. This would not more than supply the three most needy counties in the State, if the corn could be purchased now. In two months from this time, the price may have increased one half. In my opinion the appropriation for this purpose should be at least two millions of dollars. In this connection, I beg leave again to remind the General Assembly, that without the power of impressment, it will be absolutely impossible for me to secure the corn. I have made diligent efforts through agents, and find I cannot purchase enough to feed the State teams, and support the State Line in the field. I am informed by Major Moses, the Chief Confederate Commissary for the State, that agents will be allowed to purchase part of the surplus of bonded men, for the use of soldiers’ families. This will aid as far as that class is concerned, but will afford no relief to the large number of persons not soldiers’ families, now suffering for bread, in the sections of the State where all the supplies of the people have been destroyed by the enemy. As I have already informed the General Assembly, the appropriation of money cannot afford the necessary relief without the power to impress the provisions in the hands of those who will not sell their surplus for currency. Market value should be paid to every citizen, whose property is impressed, but those who have a surplus and refuse to sell at market value, while others are suffering, should be compelled to distribute all they can spare, at its value in currency. I wish the members of the General Assembly and their constituents, to understand distinctly, that the appropriation of money already made, is wholly inadequate for this purpose and that it is impossible for me to furnish the corn, without the power of impressment. If the Legislature adjourns without conferring the authority, it will leave me powerless to relieve hundreds of women and children from actual starvation. I also beg leave again to revert to the fact, that the military appropriation already made, is entirely insufficient. If the State pays none of the expense of the militia, it will take at least $3,000,000 more to support the State Line, provide the clothing necessary for the Georgia troops in service, and purchase and support the wagons and teams which the Quartermaster General must have, to enable him to do the military transportation, and haul the corn to the most destitute section. If these appropriations and the impressment power, are withheld, it will be necessary for me again to convene the General Assembly at an early day.” ~ Message from Georgia Governor Joseph E Brown to the state legislature.

March 4– Saturday– near Ballarat, Victoria, Australia– Birth of Edward Dyson, journalist and author. [Dies August 22, 1931.]

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